Wednesday, October 8, 2013

Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook

**All great changes are preceded by chaos.**
Deepak Chopra

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 10/9/13 -


* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical storm Danas is located approximately 84 nm north of Sasebo, Japan.

- Tropical depression 24w is located approximately 575 nm east of Manila, Philippines.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical storm Narda is located about 1225 mi (1975 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Narda is losing strength.

+ 5 DEAD after Typhoon Fitow hits China - Thousands of people in eastern China are struggling to cope with the effects of Typhoon Fitow that made landfall on Monday morning. The 151km/h storm landed in Fujian province, bringing heavy rain and causing widespread power cuts. Authorities say five people have been killed, hundreds of homes have collapsed and large areas of farmland have been destroyed. (video)

+ Tropical storms and oil tanks - Giant storage tanks for petrochemicals and petroleum are vulnerable to damage from tropical storms despite the tanks’ massive size and steel construction. Researchers found multiple cases of flood waters and high winds causing the tanks to float, buckle and rupture. What the scientists say they didn’t find were regulations to minimize the risk in areas where “storm surge” waters are a threat. “Overall we don’t see a wealth of any mandated provisions for considering surge or wave loads or external pressures from hurricane events.”
There are more than 4,200 above-ground storage tanks in the Houston Ship Channel. About a third of the tanks are in the storm surge zone. Little has been done to find a way to minimize the economic and environmental damage from tanks that leak. There are standards for tanks built in earthquake zones, but few for tanks built where hurricanes are a risk
“The tanks as they’re floating don’t break. The tanks break as they settle. Five or six of the biggest spills in Katrina were all this exact same mechanism.” During 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, flood waters lifted a tank full of oil off its foundation in the Chalmette community of New Orleans. It settled atop a pump that had been left next to the tank, puncturing the tank and setting loose a spill that would end up in an adjacent neighborhood. Some 1,800 homes were coated with oil carried into the neighborhood by the flood waters.
The researchers say the work they’re now doing might make a case for creating some new rules that would require better ways to anchor the big tanks to keep them from floating away.


A multistate Salmonella outbreak has so far sickened 278 people in 18 states, which prompted a public health alert Monday from the US Department of Agriculture and has led the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recall some staff sidelined by the federal government shutdown.
Illnesses from Salmonella Heidelberg strains have been associated with raw chicken products produced at three Foster Farms facilities in California. So far most of the cases have been reported in California, and the products were mainly distributed to retail stores in California, Oregon, and Washington state. Foster Farms said it hasn't issued a recall.
Food safety advocates and other observers have worried about the potential effects of the federal government shutdown in an outbreak scenario. Contingency plans have kept FSIS workers on the job who are involved with food inspections and safety, though the federal situation has thinned the ranks of officials who monitor outbreaks at the CDC. Furloughs initially sidelined many database workers and epidemiologists involved in PulseNet, a national molecular subtyping network that supports foodborne illness investigations. However, federal officials have been tracking the Salmonella Heidelberg infections since June, and the CDC exempted or excepted employees who have been monitoring the outbreak closely.
Going into the shutdown, the CDC had only enough staffing to cover known risks and protect the public from them, and since the start of the shutdown the bare-bones staff have also been keeping their eye on about 30 other illness clusters. Given the latest outbreak developments, the CDC has brought the PulseNet staff back almost to full strength.
"What we are missing are the potential risks." For antibiotic resistance testing, the CDC has only enough staff to take urgent or unusual requests, and for now cannot handle routine testing on samples submitted by states. Tests on the Salmonella Heidelberg strains involved in the outbreak show that some are resistant to multiple antibiotics. So far the federal cutbacks haven't kept states from investigating their Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak infections.
Last year, Oregon had another Salmonella outbreak linked to a Foster Farms facility in the Pacific Northwest, but it involved a different strain. The new outbreak raises questions about the levels of bacteria coming out of the plants In the earlier outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken, the CDC reported 134 illnesses in 13 states, most of them in Oregon and Washington.